SARS turns up the heat on non-compliant taxpayers

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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has warned taxpayers that not submitting a tax return is a criminal offence and that SARS will intensify criminal proceedings against non-compliant taxpayers.

The revenue service said it is a criminal offence, according to the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 (TAA), not to submit a tax return for Personal Income Tax (PIT), Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT).

“Although SARS’ philosophy is that of education, service and thereafter enforcement, we have noticed an increase in taxpayers not submitting their tax returns by the stipulated deadlines, and not settling their outstanding debt with SARS. This is not limited to the current tax year but includes substantial non-compliance across previous tax years,” said the revenue service.

Tax season 2017 opened on 1 July. It is an opportunity for taxpayers to reconcile their personal income and tax-related deductions with SARS. This allows SARS to assess if there were any factors that were not accounted for over the tax year, thus ensuring that the taxpayer is compliant.

SARS announced that as of next month, it will intensify criminal proceedings against tax offenders.

Failure to submit the return(s) within the said period could result in:

• Administrative penalties being imposed on a monthly basis per outstanding return, and

• Criminal prosecution resulting in imprisonment or a fine for each day that such default continues.

“It is also important to note that should any return result in a tax debt it must be paid before the relevant due date to avoid any interest for late payment and legal action,” SARS said.

To avoid any penalties, interest, prosecutions as well as imprisonment, taxpayers are urged to rectify their compliance by submitting any outstanding returns as soon as possible at their nearest SARS Branch or via SARS eFiling at www.sarsefiling.co.za.

For further clarity, taxpayers can direct any queries to the Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277. – SAnews.gov.za

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